Donate

a place to breathe

 

A PLACE TO BREATHE explores the universality of trauma and resilience through the eyes of refugee and immigrant patients and health care providers navigating the medical system. This character-driven feature documentary touches the heart of current debates on immigration and health care at this pivotal moment when these two issues dominate the country’s consciousness.

Rodrigue is a newly arrived refugee from war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo who, along with his mother and seven siblings, is struggling to adapt to life in Lowell, Massachusetts. Training to become a medical interpreter at the local community health center, he ultimately aspires to be a social worker to help his community heal from trauma. Socheat, a Cambodian immigrant, seeks tools to combat the stress of supporting her aging parents, teenage daughter, and disabled brother on a manicurist’s salary. The entire family experiences the benefits of meditation classes and culturally tailored wellness approaches at the health center. Sue, a nurse to both families, examines the continued impact of her own traumatic experiences, thriving in the U.S. after surviving the genocide in Cambodia and now supporting others to do the same.

Across the country in Oakland, California, Edgar and Yania, a young couple from Mexico and Uruguay, provide healing to their community through outreach to day laborers and Spanish-language yoga classes. Their aspirations to become a social worker and a nurse are threatened by possible deportation
due to their tenuous immigration status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). At the same health clinic, Norma, a Guatemalan immigrant, provides interpretation into her community’s indigenous Mayan language, while she watches new arrivals from her homeland fight for asylum and safety.

Common ground and chance connection intertwine these stories as A PLACE TO BREATHE spotlights the profound importance of culturally responsive medicine that joins mental, physical, and spiritual paths to wellbeing. In the midst of an increasingly xenophobic climate, the film humanizes those who have come here, sharing their wisdom and perspectives that enrich and strengthen our communities. As violence destabilizes populations across the country and the world, A PLACE TO BREATHE moves audiences to envision new understandings of wellness for all. The film is currently in production with a scheduled release date in 2018.

 

Director/Producer Michelle Grace Steinberg and Producer Robyn Bykofsky

www.underexposedfilms.com

Donate

BEYOND MEASURE

Every day we hear stories about the troubles in American education: our test scores are stagnant, we’re falling behind our international peers, and our schools are failing to prepare future generations to succeed in the 21st century. For the last decade, this story – and the fear it inspires – has shaped the way we talk about our education system and informed our policies.

But what if the efforts we’ve been pushing so hard in our schools are actually the things that are leaving our education system worse off? What if the initiatives that narrow, standardize and pressure our school environments are the reason our children are less engaged in school and less prepared to be thoughtful, capable, contributing adults? 

In Beyond Measure we set out to challenge the assumptions of our current education story. And what we found was a revolution brewing in public schools across the country.

From Kentucky to New York City, we follow schools that are breaking away from our outmoded, test-driven education culture and pioneering a new vision for our classrooms. Schools that are asking our students to invent, to make, to imagine how they can effect change in the world today. Schools that are transforming the roles of students and teachers and putting more faith in the ingenuity of our children. And schools that are dramatically improving outcomes for children of all backgrounds.

Beyond Measure fills a void that too many other education stories have left empty – a positive picture of what’s innovative and possible in American education when communities decided they are ready for change.


A film by Vicki Abeles

This film is complete and is in distribution.

Visit our website

Visit us on Facebook

Donate

BIRTHRIGHT?

The Medea Project’s Birthright? is a searing dramatic narrative of deep connections between women’s health and reproductive rights and the stark realities of rape, of living with HIV and of women finding their voice in a male-dominated world that often demeans and devalues them. The Birthright? video documentary weaves the creation of the Birthright? live performance with the stories of its creators – women finding empowerment through telling the truth – telling the truth to themselves, to each other and to the world.

Birthright? originally grew out of conversations between the Medea Project and Planned Parenthood in the greater Bay Area. The Medea Project, founded and led by Cultural Odyssey’s Rhodessa Jones, is among the most provocative of contemporary theatrical workshops.

Rhodessa: So many folks depend on Planned Parenthood as their community clinic. We’ve learned that Planned Parenthood plays into the lives of many of the broken and wounded people. We are taking their language, their ideas, their images, and the color oftheir words to create stories of survival.

Producer/Director of “Birthright? – The Documentary”:  Bruce Schmiechen

Donate

EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART

The life and legacy of Johnny Otis: the Godfather of R&B, composer, bandleader, disc jockey, civil rights activist, preacher, and artist, who grew up in a Greek immigrant family, but defined himself as African-American.

Every Beat of My Heart is a personal and musical biography of Johnny Otis, the musician, bandleader, producer and songwriter who is often called the Godfather of Rhythm & Blues. But it is more than the biography of one man, just as the story of R&B is about much more than music. Johnny’s odyssey through the world of African-American music in the 20th Century is a window into arenas of race and culture that have defined and transformed contemporary America – and, in turn, have touched the whole world.

Produced by Bruce Schmiechen, Michael Anderson & Kevin White

Directed by Bruce Schmiechen

Visit the site.

Donate

Fiddles on fire

Fiddles on Fire explores the exploding popularity of fiddle music by following eight contemporary fiddlers whose excellence in their tradition-based fiddle styles has inspired audiences the world over. Fiddlers representing diverse and evolved traditions come together in a musical convergence, breathing life into lost fiddle tunes and swapping stories. Commentary by folklorists is intercut with musicians’ personal narratives, historical footage, and archival photographs to plumb the meaning and magic of the modern fiddle revival.

Donate

GAZING INTO THE PAST: THE UNBOUNDED VISION OF JAMES CAHILL

James Francis Cahill (Chinese: 高居翰; pinyin: Gāo Jūhàn (1926 – 2014) was an art historian, curator, collector, and  professor at the University of California, Berkeley.  He was one of the world’s top  authorities on Chinese art.  Gazing into the Past is a one-hour portrait film of Cahill and the art he studied and interpreted for generations of students and scholars.  Cahill changed the way the world looked at Chinese and Japanese painting.  The interviews with former students, colleagues, curators, and friends provide rich opportunities to focus on the art itself, which was Cahill’s main goal throughout his career. The parallel approach will create an impression of a man and his life, and a clear understanding of how the study of Asian art developed during the second half of the 20th century.

Donate

Home yet far away: The Feminine Iran, the masculine u.s., it's not a gender issue

Iranian immigrant filmmaker, Sabereh, seeks to find home in California, while worrying about a military conflict between the U.S. and Iran during the post 9/11 era. Her beloved mother’s death prompts her to a journey to her hometown of Tehran where she tries to reconcile with her distant and cynical father who insists that she decide to either stay in Iran or return to the U.S. permanently and “stop clowning” in her life. Over the next five years, she travels between the U.S. and Iran, staying six months in each country while taking care of her physically faltering father, wondering what it means to be a good daughter and independent woman. While living in a collective house in California, she begins learning more about gender issues and goddess cultures. Sabereh’s journey is intensely personal, exploring multiple layers of her identity as an Iranian American woman. By the time her father passes away, Sabereh has found peace within herself, and between Iran and her adopted home, by struggling with profound questions of roots, national identity, family roles, gender, and the immigrant experience.

Directed by Sabereh Kashi


Please donate to this project through this link: https://www.crowdrise.com/home-yet-far-away

Donate

HOW TO SMELL A ROSE

How to Smell a Rose: A Visit with Ricky Leacock in Normandy is a one-hour film in which Les Blank visits Richard Leacock in France. Conversations between the two legendary filmmakers, who have both passed away, explore Leacock’s life and work as a charismatic and trailblazing documentary filmmaker and co-founder of America’s Cinema Verité movement, which forever changed the way non-fiction films are made. Before the early 1960s the standard way of making films was with heavy and cumbersome equipment­ that limited the access the filmmakers had to their subjects. Leacock’s innovations and approach became instrumental in creating a new form of documenting events on film by abandoning these impediments. His quest was to create “the feeling of being there.” Over meals and walks in the French countryside, Leacock shares with Blank the memorable moments of his filmmaking career and the extraordinary people he met along the way. Clips from Ricky’s films and Ricky’s talent as raconteur bring to life the magic moments that changed filmmaking forever.

A film by Les Blank and Gina Leibrecht.

Donate

Impresario

Producer/filmmaker Marc Huestis is a galvanizing voice of non conformity since the early days of the Gay Liberation Movement.

Force of nature, filmmaker and producer Marc Huestis has been a galvanizing voice of non conformity since the days of the Gay Liberation Movement of the 1970s. He continues to defy expectations by surviving HIV and delightfully orchestrating personal liberations of his own.

Produced and Directed by Lauretta Molitor.

www.trouserfilm.com

 

Donate

Leo, harold, and Paul: three american soldiers in world war two 

Leo Litwak, Harold Kozloff and Paul Mico were drafted into the U.S. Army and swept into World War II as infantrymen. Leo was chosen to be trained as a medic. Once in combat he discovered his vocation was provide aid to soldiers wounded in battle, and was profoundly relieved he was spared the obligation to kill. Jewish and aware of Nazi persecution and the holocaust, he came to the aid of the dying - whether they were German or American. Leo never lost his compassion for all those caught in the storms of battle. While on the ground, amid the sounds of rifle fire, machine guns, bombs and mortars, Harold Kozloff transformed into an aggressive warrior. He found himself with a taste for killing, with rage and lust; he was good at it. His Jewish heritage fed his hatred of the Nazis. After he participated in the liberation of a slave camp, he helped the prisoners take revenge. Paul Mico entered combat with the invasion of Normandy, and was unwillingly thrust into the role of platoon leader. Certain that he was going to die; he was even more frightened by the responsibility of keeping his men alive. After the massacre at Malmedy, Belgium where the Germans machine-gunned 84 American prisoners, Sergeant Mico and his men began a killing spree - the consequences of which indelibly changed his life.

 

Produced and Directed by William Farley

Paul Mico 50 Cal.jpg
Donate

PLASTIC MAN: THE ARTFUL LIFE OF JERRY ROSS BARRISH

Plastic Man: the Artful Life of Jerry Ross Barrish follows Jerry Ross Barrish on his hero’s journey where art is his salvation. Like an alchemist, Barrish fashions sculpture out of found recycled materials to communicate a story. His journey includes prevailing over his learning disability, dyslexia, a decade long career as an independent filmmaker and over 50 years as San Francisco’s best-known bail bondsman. “Don’t Parish in Jail, Call Barrish for Bail,” was the tagline for Barrish Bail Bonds, founded in 1961. Jerry bailed out political activists from the Civil Rights movement, Free Speech movements, anti-Vietnam protestors, and demonstrators supporting Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.

Produced by Janis Plotkin.
Directed by William Farley.

This film has been completed and is in distribution.

View the Hatch Fund site.
View the Facebook page.

Donate

Racing To Zero

Racing To Zero is a quick moving, up-tempo documentary that presents new solutions to the global problem of waste. Although waste may create garbage, garbage is in itself a RESOURCE, and that is key.

Garbage has an enormous impact on global warming and contributes to 44% of the greenhouse gases that are affecting the environment. The World Bank’s global analysis projects a staggering increase in garbage during the next 13 years from 1.43 billion tons per year to 2.42 billion tons per year in 2025.

A new culture of awareness is spreading and leading people to adopt new practices, create new businesses, and develop new composting technologies in an effort to eliminate waste. The goal is to educate people to make an informed decision, read labels, use less, and buy with recycling in mind.  Our adventure is an on-going treasure hunt. We can and must live off our garbage and the race can be won. The simple substitution of the word RESOURCE for the word GARBAGE produced a new pot of gold.

Directed by Christopher Beaver

Produced by Diana Fuller

This film has been completed and is currently in distribution.

Visit the Racing to Zero web site.

Donate

Redefining Prosperity

An inspiring story of a town in transition – from destruction to sustainability, from self-interest to community, from greed to service.

This 60-minute film is the inspiring story of a town in transition—from destruction to sustainability, from self-interest to community, from greed to service.
 
Born in the 1849 California Gold Rush, Nevada City began as a town full of “get rich quick” gold-seeking immigrants, who decimated the local Native American population, leveled the great Ponderosa forests, destroyed the land, and poisoned their waters, in a mad scramble for wealth. But a hundred years later, the mines exhausted, the town was dying and land was cheap.
 
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a new wave of immigrants from big cities, including Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder, bought land and settled in the nearby ridges above the sparkling Yuba River.  The new counterculture sought a different kind of “gold,” based in community, connection with nature, and a desire to be long-term stewards of the land.
 
For years, an uneasy tension divided the “rednecks,” loggers and others who saw the newcomers as a threat to their way of life, and the “hippies” whose numbers gradually increased, and eventually, established thriving businesses, alternative schools, a vibrant arts culture, a lively community radio station and scattered organic farms in the area.
 
A common struggle helped bring them together—the threat of power dams that would destroy the beloved Yuba River, a playground for swimming and whitewater boating that the entire community enjoyed.  The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), created to save the river led a 16-year fight that eventually brought Wild and Scenic River status to the Yuba in 1999.  Since then, SYRCL has continued to push the community toward environmental sustainability and now counts of hundreds of volunteers for its annual river cleanup and internationally recognized film festival.

You might call it “the little town that did.”  Nevada City is the center of a new vision for the future.  Its transition, though still incomplete, points the way to new lifestyles that will be needed in an era of increasing environmental and economic challenges.  Town Between Two Worlds highlights what a community can do to bring people together and build resilience. It is a film that will inspire other communities to do the same.

Directed by John de Graaf
Produced by Jennifer Ekstrom and John de Graaf
Consulting producer - Kevin White
Camera & Editing - Greg Davis

sands of war

Sands of War  tells the forgotten story of the Desert Training Center — 18,000 square miles of rugged terrain in the Mojave Desert where a million soldiers came to train for battle in WWII. Founded by General George S. Patton in 1942, the DTC tested men and machines in a setting as close to real combat as could be devised.  Using both current and rare archival footage, and told through the personal experiences of WWII veterans, the program provides a compelling account of the young men and women thrust onto the stage of world conflict.

Produced, written & directed by David Donnenfield and Kevin White

Narrated by Peter Coyote

Edited by Susan Utell

Filmed by Steve Davy, Don Starnes, David Donnenfield and Kevin White

Sound mix by Sirius Sound

Donate

Saving the Bay 2

 

Saving the Bay 2 shows how San Francisco Bay is now growing after 150 years of shrinking due to human intervention.  This follow up program to the popular Saving the Bay series highlights the challenges and opportunities that come with a bigger San Francisco Bay and goes back in time to illustrate how climate change in the Bay Area has been a constant since the Ice Ages.  

Donate

SOUNDS OF THE NORTHERN WILD

Civilization has a nature deficit disorder. Listening to natural sounds is an antidote.

In 2006, Bernie Krause led a team of nature sound recordists to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. There they captured the song of the waters, the music of the hills, the calls and cries of wildlife. Sounds of the Northern Wild is a half-hour documentary film about the Arctic Soundscape Project. It is also an introduction to the appreciation and recording of nature sounds for educational, scientific, and esthetic purposes. It will open viewers’ eyes to what their ears have missed.

Producer/Writer: Stephen Most.
Director: Bob Hillman.
Executive Producer: Steve Michelson.

This film has been completed and is currently in distribution.

View the site.

Donate

THE DAUGHTER’S VOICE

There are moments when the human race spreads its improbable wings and actually soars. This is one of those moments.

The Daughter’s Voice presents the interlocking stories of five young women from the Terai region of Western Nepal, where poverty and severe oppression have forced generations of girls into indentured servitude. Many of these girls were sold for less than 60 dollars a year and some were taken from their families as young as five years old.

Now freed, after toiling for years as indentured servants, our film’s main characters have become leaders in a movement to abolish this embedded practice of slavery, known as Kamlari. The girls tell the astonishing tale of how almost 13,000 girls have been rescued over the past 14 years.

Transformed into powerful activists, the freed slave girls have created their own NGO, The Freed Kamlari Development Forum (FKDF). With over 1,700 members, the FKDF is helping the girls build new lives through education, vocational training, micro financing, and peer counseling. Their continued activism, often at great personal risk, has essentially abolished the Kamlari practice – and changed the way a nation views, and values, its women and girls.

Why tell this story?

With the world’s attention now focused on gender equality as key to healthy societies, and the shocking number of women still enslaved worldwide, The Daughter’s Voice will be the centerpiece for a global outreach campaign that will raise awareness, showcase a successful model, and stimulate funding for organizations working to end child slavery in countries around the world.

A film by Roy Cox & Robin Mortarotti

Click here to visit our website.

Click here to download the funding proposal.

Click here to see Olga’s Promise, the inspiration for The Daughter’s Voice.

Donate

The Gatekeeper

There is a math crisis in America. By middle school, two-thirds of our students will fall behind grade level in their math classes. By high school graduation, fewer than half will be prepared for college-level courses. And yet, success in math remains a powerful gatekeeper–the door not only to coursework and college but also careers in science, medicine, technology, and engineering. The Gatekeeper examines how our traditional approach to math education favors rote performance over problem-solving and imitation over creativity–even among high-achieving students. 

Beyond examining the roots of our math crisis, The Gatekeeper follows the stories of passionate educators who are working to create more engaging, effective and equitable methods for teaching math. It creates a vivid portrait of what powerful math classrooms look and sound like, and it advocates for change through the use of success stories and collaboration rather than critique.

By shining a spotlight on the groundbreaking work being done by bold educators across the country,The Gatekeeper points us toward a new reality: a classroom where every student can succeed at math. Produced and directed by Vicki Abeles.

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 5.20.27 PM.png
Donate

the highway

The Highway.png

Highway protests against police violence in the U.S. have proliferated since Michael Brown's shooting death in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 and continue as more police killings have taken place unabated and with little consequence for the officers involved, as with the most recent high profile case of Stephon Clark in Sacramento.

While most Americans support the idea of freedom of assembly, in practice, there is little knowledge of the origins of exercising this right by blocking roads. Meanwhile, the desire for convenient travel becomes asserted as a "right" on the equal level of those in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. These contentious, polarized views ultimately serve to distract from the real issues — the disproportionate violence against black people in the U.S. by law enforcement and the history of devaluing black lives by the State.

The Highway is a short animated film that explores the dynamics and history of protests as a patriotic act and the State-sanctioned violence against black lives, along with related cultural, historic, and mythological antecedents. Toy-scale recreations of events are accompanied by layered audio of quotes from non-fiction writers such as Ta-nehisi Coates and Tim Wise, news coverage, protest events, statements from victim’s families, comments by anti-protesters, poetry, literature, philosophy, symbolic music, and other sources.

A highway protest is the main contemporary storyline that bookends the film. It begins with regular traffic, to highway protestors overtaking the freeway, to the confrontation with police. Other scenes that explore associated subjects include: the Boston Tea Party; a contemporary anti-protester at home; a séance with Achsa Sprague, spiritualist and abolitionist; Odysseus facing the Sirens in the Middle Passage; the Revolutions of 1848 (the February Revolution in France); and the lynching of Laura and L. D. Nelson and the associated postcards.

 

A film by Jennifer Crystal Chien

Donate

The Lure of this land

THE LURE OF THIS LAND- The Expat Stories

This is the story of immigrants, specifically immigrants to Belize, Central America as it represents a microcosm of the world with its many and varied cultures/ethnicities. Belize is a small country with only about 370,000 people occupying 8,867 square miles (22,700 square kilometers). Its inhabitants include: Guatemalans, Mexicans, Mestizo, Garifuna, Amish, Mennonites, Lebanese, Chinese, East Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern/Arab, British, American, Three different Mayan cultures (Kekchi, Mopan and Yucatec).

This documentary will explore and attempt to answer the fundamental questions of why we leave the places we know. What are we looking for? And what is found? The filmmaker's creative journey is also woven into the fabric of this exploration. What inspires us to unearth our stories; the stories of others, the stories of ourselves?

The Filmmaker

Alexandra Lexton is the Producer/Writer/Director of THE LURE OF THIS LAND. Her experience as a development and production executive in Hollywood, led to her role as co- Producer on two feature films. Information on other feature film projects in development through her company Lex Productions are available on the website http://www.lexproductions.net

 

 

Donate

When Rules don't apply

When Rules Don’t Apply tells the story of a large group of leading technology companies that were charged and prosecuted for collusion under antitrust law because of their secret agreement to suppress wages and limit job opportunities of their own employees. The case provides a window into high tech culture and their attitudes towards regulation in their strategy to achieve and maintain market dominance. 

This comprehensive education and information campaign includes a 30-minute film conforming to PBS standards for broadcast, three short (2-3 min) subject specific programs, a resource rich website, and a robust social media campaign.

Directed by David Donnenfield

Produced by David Donnenfield & Kevin White

 

wilder than wild: Fire, Forests and the future

Donate

"We are experiencing now the fires of the future."    Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director

WILDER THAN WILD: Fire, Forests and the Future reveals how fuel build-up and climate change have made Western wildlands vulnerable to large, high intensity wildfires, while greenhouse gases released from these fires accelerate climate change - a vicious cycle that jeopardizes our forests and affects us all with extreme weather and more wildfires – some of which are now entering highly populated wildland-urban areas. Filmmaker Kevin White takes us on a journey from the Rim Fire of 2013, which burned 257,000 acres in the central Sierra, to the wine country wildfires of 2017, which destroyed 9,000 buildings and killed 44 people. Along the way, we learn how the proactive use of prescribed fire can reduce reliance on reactive fire suppression, and we meet stakeholder groups working with scientists and innovative resource managers to build consensus on how to restore and manage the lands we love and depend on. 

In their 13-minute film, The Fire Next Time, filmmakers Stephen Most and Kevin White examine how problematic policies, fuel build-up, and climate change converged to push a Sierra Nevada forest to a tipping point. Much of the land that once stored water and carbon, fed and sheltered a diversity of wildlife, and gave people the joys of recreation may never be restored. Many more forests are in danger of a similar fate. The response to the Rim Fire by resource managers and concerned stakeholders will inform efforts to save other forested lands. All of these issues are to be explored in depth in their hour-long film Wilder Than Wild.

Producers: Stephen Most & Kevin White
Director: Kevin White
Writer: Stephen Most

Donate

Zoo Story: reinventing the american zoo

Zoo Story explores the past, present and future of North American zoos.  We trace the fascinating and little-known story of how zoos have evolved from places largely devoted to recreation with a secondary focus on science to centers for wildlife and habitat conservation as well as environmental education.  And we meet the animals and people who make zoos such special places.

Learn more: http://zoostory.org/

 

The Filmmakers

Rick Hills is a San Francisco attorney, real estate developer and Chairman of San Diego Zoo Global's Foundation Board with a lifetime of zoo experience.

Ron Blatman is a filmmaker with a background in real estate and local government. He was the Executive Producer for Saving the Bay.